North America Indian Story & Song - online book

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THE DEATHLESS VOICE
voice bursting into song, the echoes in the hills and valleys catching and repeating the strain.
Each warrior involuntarily grasped his bow. The Leader, ever keen and alert, exclaimed in a hoarse whisper, "The fire! the fire! " Immediately many hands were rubbing the flaming wood into the earth. Commands were hastily given by the Leader; and the warriors, with palpitating hearts, started out to form a ring around the spot whence the thrilling sounds came. The voice sang on. The ring grew smaller and smaller until in an open space the shadowy form of a tree loomed up before the advancing warriors. No escape was now pos­sible for the singer, yet the song went on without hesitancy. The tree was now clearly visible. The song came to a close, and the echo died away in the distance. The men kept on toward the tree, with bows drawn and arrows strung. No form was seen running around inside the ring, seeking an opening for escape; but, lo! at the foot of the tree lay scat­tered the whitened bones and the grinning skull of a man. Death had claimed the body of this warrior and compelled its return to dust, but had failed to silence the voice of the man who, when living, had often defied death.
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